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The Jack-o’-Lantern King

David Holland’s Halloween art



 



While tombstones and cobwebs and black cats abound this time of year, one of Halloween’s most recognizable symbols is the jack-o’-lantern. Examples often can be found on the front porch, a flickering eerie light illuminating the black October gloom. There are the plastic ones that kids have carried for generations to bring home their treats, as well as the glittery decorative kind hobby stores sell by the truckload. But these days, the jack-o’-lantern has gone high-tech, with artists lending their skills to the intricately carved gourds.
 

Oklahoma City artist David Holland has been a favorite local pumpkin carver for years.

“I have been carving since I was about 10 years old,” Holland says. “Somehow my parents trusted me with a knife, and I fortunately never cut myself. Back then, I was just carving your traditional jack-o’-lantern – made with straight-line cuts – so it wasn’t terribly difficult. I have been carving professionally for about 10 years now.”

The trick in carving elaborate pumpkins lies not only in the design, Holland said, but also in the tools used.

“With the new jigsaw-type hand carvers they sell nowadays, you can get some amazing results,” he says. “They allow you to carve curves with little effort and no danger of personal injury. I’ve taught kids as young as 12 to do it. There are countless patterns available both online and in stores.”

It takes Holland about 30 minutes to transfer his intricate patterns to the pumpkin, and about 10 minutes to scoop the goop out of the middle and get it ready to carve. Then it takes another 45 minutes to an hour to do the carving, but simple designs, he said, go much faster. And this time of year, he stays very busy.

“The most I ever carved was 30 pumpkins – for a single Halloween party put on by a wealthy man at his estate near Norman,” Holland says. “We had them lining the driveway, around his pool and house, and one multiple-pumpkin banquet table sculpture that was a long, interconnecting snake. So each year is different, but I typically carve between five and 15.”

When it comes to pumpkins, Holland says size really does matter. In fact, the bigger the better. He scouts what he needs at the local farmer’s markets, and even Sam’s Club and Walmart. These days, he’s been teaching carving classes at the Myriad Gardens, so he gets to go through the ones they bring in and choose the biggest ones. (And by the way, this year’s Pumpkinville runs Oct. 6-22.)


Once they are carved, the pumpkins will last anywhere from three to five days. “The longest I’ve had them last is about five days,” Holland says. “I soak them briefly with lemon water after I carve them to make them last longer; it keeps the molds and fungus that make them rot at bay for a little while.”

His designs run the gamut from a traditional Halloween witch to a dragon’s face and a tarantula, but Holland said his favorite is of Rumble, the OKC Thunder mascot.

“Back when the team first came to town, they employed me to make up five Thunder-themed patterns,” he says. “They were having an October promotion where if a fan carved a Thunder pumpkin and brought it to the game, they would get a free ticket and would be entered into a contest for the best carving. I got to go to my first pro ball game because of this. They gave me a ticket for sixth row center court; that was in exchange for pumpkins I carved, using the patterns I created for the promotion.”

One of his next goals is to do a Valentine’s carving, but, he pointed out, most pumpkins will not last through the winter. However, with Halloween around the corner, now is the perfect time for creating your own masterpiece.

“It takes a lot of patience to make a good carving,” Holland says, “so don’t rush it. Let the saw do the work, and don’t push the saw when you’re carving. It is the in-and-out motion that makes the saw work. Most of all, just have fun and enjoy the project.”

 

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Calendar

May 2019

Save $5 on a Dual Park Pass this Memorial Day Weekend! Get a full day of fun at Andy Alligator’s Fun Park and Water Park for only $29.99. A Dual Park Pass includes Unlimited Rides &...

Cost: Save $5 on a Dual Park Pass!

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Andy Alligator's Fun Park & Water Park
3300 Market Place
Norman, OK  73072
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Cost: Free

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Paseo Arts District
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Sponsor: Paseo Arts Association
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Cost: Free

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1 NE 3rd st
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Cost: $6 adults

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Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
Duncan, OK  73533
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Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
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Website »

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Cost: $4 - $6

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
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Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
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James Bailey from Missoula, Montana, is ARTSPACE at Untitled's visiting Artist in Residence; his exhibition, Map-ify, is on view May 9th through July 6th.  "My work examines...

Cost: Free

Where:
ARTSPACE at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Telephone: 405.815.9995
Website »

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Save $5 on a Dual Park Pass this Memorial Day Weekend! Get a full day of fun at Andy Alligator’s Fun Park and Water Park for only $29.99. A Dual Park Pass includes Unlimited Rides &...

Cost: Save $5 on a Dual Park Pass!

Where:
Andy Alligator's Fun Park & Water Park
3300 Market Place
Norman, OK  73072
View map »

More information

More than 90 visual artists will line the streets of the Historic Paseo Arts District, selling original artwork in a wide variety of media, from painting and photography to wood and jewelry, and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Paseo Arts District
3022 Paseo
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View map »


Sponsor: Paseo Arts Association
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Website »

More information

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Cost: $6 adults

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
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View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Stacy Moore
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Cost: $4 - $6

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
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Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni Hopper
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Cost: Free

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ARTSPACE at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
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Telephone: 405.815.9995
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More information

A nationally touring exhibit “Bison: Ancient. Massive. Wild.” will open May 24 at the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center in Duncan, OK. This exhibit explores the significance of...

Cost: $4 - $6

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
Duncan, OK  73533
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Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni Hopper
Website »

More information

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Cost: $6 adults

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
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Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
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Cost: $4 - $6

Where:
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View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni Hopper
Website »

More information

"Sandy Magrath: Dogs of the Southwest" art exhibit will be open May 1 - June 30, 2019, at the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center in Duncan, OK. A meet the artist reception will be 3:30 -...

Cost: $6 adults

Where:
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1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
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View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Stacy Moore
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
ARTSPACE at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Telephone: 405.815.9995
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

James Bailey from Missoula, Montana, is ARTSPACE at Untitled's visiting Artist in Residence; his exhibition, Map-ify, is on view May 9th through July 6th.  "My work examines...

Cost: Free

Where:
ARTSPACE at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Telephone: 405.815.9995
Website »

More information

A nationally touring exhibit “Bison: Ancient. Massive. Wild.” will open May 24 at the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center in Duncan, OK. This exhibit explores the significance of...

Cost: $4 - $6

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
Duncan, OK  73533
View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni Hopper
Website »

More information

"Sandy Magrath: Dogs of the Southwest" art exhibit will be open May 1 - June 30, 2019, at the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center in Duncan, OK. A meet the artist reception will be 3:30 -...

Cost: $6 adults

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
Duncan, OK  73533
View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Stacy Moore
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

James Bailey from Missoula, Montana, is ARTSPACE at Untitled's visiting Artist in Residence; his exhibition, Map-ify, is on view May 9th through July 6th.  "My work examines...

Cost: Free

Where:
ARTSPACE at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Telephone: 405.815.9995
Website »

More information

"Sandy Magrath: Dogs of the Southwest" art exhibit will be open May 1 - June 30, 2019, at the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center in Duncan, OK. A meet the artist reception will be 3:30 -...

Cost: $6 adults

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
Duncan, OK  73533
View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Stacy Moore
Website »

More information

A nationally touring exhibit “Bison: Ancient. Massive. Wild.” will open May 24 at the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center in Duncan, OK. This exhibit explores the significance of...

Cost: $4 - $6

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
Duncan, OK  73533
View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni Hopper
Website »

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Cost: Free

Where:
ARTSPACE at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Telephone: 405.815.9995
Website »

More information

"Sandy Magrath: Dogs of the Southwest" art exhibit will be open May 1 - June 30, 2019, at the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center in Duncan, OK. A meet the artist reception will be 3:30 -...

Cost: $6 adults

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
Duncan, OK  73533
View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Stacy Moore
Website »

More information

A nationally touring exhibit “Bison: Ancient. Massive. Wild.” will open May 24 at the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center in Duncan, OK. This exhibit explores the significance of...

Cost: $4 - $6

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
Duncan, OK  73533
View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni Hopper
Website »

More information

Oklahoma Modern Music Collective presents the debut concert for the ensemble "nu" - including an eclectic program in a resonant and beautiful space. Program: And Legions...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Telephone: 405.815.9995
Website »

More information

Escape the ordinary, and learn about OKC from a different point of view. Relax in the climate controlled cabin on one of our 65’ cruisers, or enjoy the breeze on the...

Cost: Adult: $20 Seniors and Children: $15

Where:
Regatta Park Landing
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Oklahoma City, OK  73119
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma River Cruises
Telephone: 405-702-7755
Contact Name: Che Loessberg
Website »

More information

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Sponsor: The Dinner Detective
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Cost: Free

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Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Telephone: 405.815.9995
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More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd Street
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Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405.815.9995
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More information

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Cost: Adult: $20 Seniors and Children: $15

Where:
Regatta Park Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK  73119
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma River Cruises
Telephone: 405-702-7755
Contact Name: Che Loessberg
Website »

More information

The evening Cocktail Cruise offers stunning views of the downtown skyline, the Boathouse District & Finish Line Tower, the Wheeler Ferris Wheel, and quite possibly an amazing Oklahoma...

Cost: Adults $20; Seniors and Children $15

Where:
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View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma River Cruises
Telephone: 405-702-7755
Contact Name: Che Loessberg
Website »

More information

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